Indian have always regarded milk as an absolute essential of the daily diet. It is actually one of the few things where our per capita consumption is higher than the world average. So its natural that merits of Raw Milk vs Packaged milk is a topic of debate for us. Modern life has made it difficult to buy Raw Milk as its typically sold by local farmers and thus to ensure purity one has to go to the farm personally everyday which is just not feasible nowadays. Still many parents opt for Raw Milk for young kids as it is generally thought to be higher in nutritional value. Many local vendors have come up who claim to supply direct from farm to the door-step, but how genuine and safe are they?
A lot of them don’t have the necessary licenses from FSSAI and thus the farm conditions are not regulated. This means there is always a chance of contamination (we are not talking just addition of water). Raw milk from can be contaminated in many ways. The major threats are pathogens like Salmonella, Listeria, Yersinia, Campylobacter, Staphylococcus, Mycobacterium bovis, Coxiella burnetii, Brucella, and E. coli. They can cause disease which can be fatal, especially since milk is a major food for children. The immune system of children is developing and these pathogens in milk can become a major health hazard. While boiling the milk kills many of them some of them are hardy.
Packet milk on the other hand is heavily regulated and thus undergoes a lot of safety checks and processes like pasteurization. Pasteurization is a simple process in which milk is heated to around 160º F for 15 seconds. This simple process makes the milk safe for drinking or any other use. With the advent of the organic revolution, the processing of milk is also being questioned. Pasteurization breaks the natural big fat particles in raw milk into smaller ones. According to a recent research big fat molecules are better source of fat. They are good for the digestive system. Also some of the nutrients of milk are reduced coz of practices like UHT (ultra high temperature pasteurized). Yes this is true. Raw milk has been proven to have more calcium and minerals when compared to treated milk. Heating milk can also destroy some useful bacteria present in raw milk.
Recently a lot of companies have delved into setting-up high-tech farms, employing organic practices, packaging, and branding Raw Milk. These are generally on the expensive side but are gaining popularity coz of the promise of purity, hygiene, and zero processing. Some of the leading brands in this segment are Pride of Cow, Sarda Farms and Provilac. One key thing for all the players is to maintain the cold chain till the door of the customer as 4ºC is required for raw milk otherwise it starts to degenerate. This can prove to be a solution for the health conscious looking for purity over price.